5) The Towns Around Asbury

Deal, Page 1


Deal forms Allenhurst's north border and is the most consistently wealthy town in the Asbury Park area. Mansions and wide avenues grace its confines right up to the low bluffs that began their rise in Loch Arbour.

5.1. Houses along Ocean Avenue, Deal


Ocean Avenue in Deal was once called the "Golden Road" not only because it attracted wealthy people from the cities but also because it was paved with gold bricks! Well, the bricks were yellow, anyway, and were imported from Belgium. In time they became unavailable, and in the early 1960s Deal's Ocean Avenue got the usual blacktop treatment.

Not long ago, Deal was mixture of about 50 percent Catholic and Protestant and 50 percent Jewish. Now it is largely Sephardic-Jewish, a very close-knit community. Since the latter group is well known for dealing in cash transactions, it is said that nobody really knows how much wealth this town of about 2000 people holds. There are stories of individuals showing up at front doors with briefcases full of cash ready with an offer to buy. I have heard it said that Deal may be per capita the wealthiest community in the United States.

The name Deal derives from Dale or Deale, which was what it was called way back in the late 17th Century when local pioneer Gavin Drummond surveyed the tract. Later called Deal Beach, the town became a municipal identity in 1898, breaking off from Ocean Township (as all neighboring towns have done). Only a few years earlier the town crossed over from being a farming community to a residential one, when the Atlantic Coast Realty Company purchased the land. Thereafter, Deal Beach attracted a large number of distinguished residents. Isidor Strauss, the department store magnate (who along with his wife, Idea, died heroically on the Titanic); Senator Simon Guggenheim; Daniel O'Day of Standard Oil; William C. Durant, the founder of General Motors, and many others.

5.2. A foggy day on Ocean Avenue, Deal


5.3. A cottage on Deal Esplanade


5.4. A drive around Deal reveals many "classic" views of homes


To see a few old postcards of Deal houses, click HERE.

In recent years, several of the grand old mansions have been torn down. Too often (and I count one as too often), the houses were replaced with dwellings that resemble food processors or a pile of VCRs. At present, however, I'm happy to see that nearly all of the impressive new houses under construction show a clearly traditional influence.

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